This is a Britain that has lost its Queen – and the luxury of denial about its past

“Yet I sympathise with those who feel the Queen’s loss. Under her reign, many latched on to the stabilising sense of cultural continuity. To lose that is to feel disrupted and uncertain. For me, it’s a familiar anxiety – Britain’s empire by definition redrew boundaries, and swept aside generations of tradition. Our parents and grandparents were recruited to Britain for its benefit, the terms and conditions of which my generation are still trying to make sense. We know how it feels to lack cultural continuity. Others in Britain enjoyed it at our expense.
If continuity is an abstract subject, the other trappings of royal symbolism are more concrete. There were pompous reflections last week with the idea expressed in the Economist’s obituary that the Queen ‘came from good Hanoverian blood’. If that sounds like a white supremacist idea, that’s because it is.” Afua Hirsch does not get to opt out of processing memories that many refuse to acknowledge.
www.theguardian.com

The big idea: why relationships are the key to existence

“Too often we foolishly measure success in terms of a single actor’s fortunes. This is both short-sighted and irrational. It misunderstands the true nature of reality, and is ultimately self-defeating.” Carlo Rovelli provides a compellingly argued explanation of the way in which interactions shape our world and, in the end, determine our reality.
www.theguardian.com

The warning signs are there for everyone else to see

“For a party that prides itself on the economy, the Tories have a shocking record of running it. Our economy has the slowest growth in the G7. We have got greater regional inequality than almost any other developed nation. Food banks now do the job of Government in providing for families—families that are more often than not in work.

Government could start solving this crisis by providing solutions, like closing tax-avoidance loopholes or creating a windfall tax for energy companies. But instead, we get endless bills paying lip service to a manufactured culture war. The priority isn’t the economy. It seems to be things like protecting freedom of speech, and yet the Tories are the ones who banned schools in England from using sources that are not overtly pro-capitalist. They are cracking down on freedom of assembly and protest. They are privatising Channel 4, when the Culture Secretary didn’t even know that Channel 4 receives no public money, so the argument is not financial. And as the Member for Rhondda touched upon earlier on, when we consider, that the Culture Secretary was a key focus of a Channel 4 documentary once about the influence that Christian fundamentalism has on UK politics, it becomes even more concerning that this decision is political and it’s personal. It is not professional.

But most terrifying of all, however, is that the Government literally wants to get rid of the Human Rights Act. And that begs the question: for whom do they think rights have gone too far? Do you know how scary it is to sit at home and wonder if it is you—is it your rights that are up for grabs? We have witnessed Windrush. Our economic strategy is to open our doors to the rest of the world when we need their hard work and then chuck them out 50 years later without a word’s notice. We tell our own citizens that their safety cannot be guaranteed in Rwanda, but we are perfectly happy to ship asylum seekers, people fleeing war and persecution, over to Rwanda as though they are cattle to be dealt with by someone else and despite knowing that this plan costs more than it will ever save.

This is just little England elites drunk on the memory of a British empire that no longer exists. We have the lowest pensions in Europe and the lowest sick pay. We pretend minimum wage is a living wage when it is not. We miss our own economic targets time and time again. We are happy to break international law. We are turning into a country where words hold no value.

And over the last 12 years, I fear we have been sleepwalking closer and closer to the F word. And I know everyone is scared to say it for fear of sounding over the top or being accused of going too far, but I say this with all sincerity. When I say the F word, I am talking about fascism—fascism wrapped in red, white and blue. And you may mock and you may disagree, but fascism does not come in with intentional evil plans or the introduction of leather jackboots. It doesn’t happen like that. It happens subtly. It happens when we see the Governments making decisions based on self-preservation, based on cronyism, based on anything that will keep them in power, we see the concentration of power whilst avoiding any of the scrutiny or responsibility that comes with that power. It arrives under the guise of respectability and pride, that will then be refused to anyone who is deemed different. It arrives through the othering of people, the normalisation of human cruelty. Now I don’t know how far down that road we are. Time will tell, but the things we do in the name of economic growth—the warning signs are there for everyone else to see, whether they admit it or not.”
Mhairi Black

Twitter buyout puts Mastodon into spotlight

“Mastodon is used to publish 500-character messages with pictures, polls, videos and so on to an audience of followers, and, in turn, to follow interesting people and receive their posts in a chronological home feed. Unlike Twitter, there is no central Mastodon website – you sign up to a provider that will host your account, similarly to signing up for Outlook or Gmail, and then you can follow and interact with people using different providers. Anyone can become such a provider as Mastodon is free and open-source. It has no ads, respects your privacy, and allows people/communities to self-govern.” Eugen Rochko preempted the planned aquisition of Twitter by a mere 6 years.
joinmastodon.org

Geflüchtete aus der Ukraine und Syrien: Unterschiedlich willkommen in Deutschland?

“Auch dieses Foto ist ein aktuelles Bild aus einem Krieg, den Putin gerade führt. Aber es wurde nicht in der Ukraine aufgenommen, sondern in Idlib in Syrien. Ein Krieg, den wir gerade zu vergessen scheinen, obwohl auch von dort zehntausende nach Deutschland geflohen sind aus Angst vor den Bomben Putins. Und, so groß die Hilfsbereitschaft für ukrainische Kriegsgeflohene gerade ist, so schwer macht es Deutschland den Geflüchteten aus Syrien, in diesem Land anzukommen. Die Menschenwürde ist unteilbar, sagt das Grundgesetz, und doch machen wir Unterschiede.”
Georg Restle

They are ‘civilised’ and ‘look like us’: the racist coverage of Ukraine

“What all these petty, superficial differences – from owning cars and clothes to having Netflix and Instagram accounts – add up to is not real human solidarity for an oppressed people. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s tribalism. These comments point to a pernicious racism that permeates today’s war coverage and seeps into its fabric like a stain that won’t go away.” Moustafa Bayoumi asks that we offer help and solidarity to innocent people who need protection, irrespective of geographical proximity or skin color.
www.theguardian.com

COVID-19: endemic doesn’t mean harmless

“Thinking that endemicity is both mild and inevitable is more than wrong, it is dangerous: it sets humanity up for many more years of disease, including unpredictable waves of outbreaks.” Aris Katzourakis would like to keep the focus on how bad things could get if we were to give in to misplaced optimism.
www.nature.com

I advise everyone to get it: UK Covid patients tell of regrets over refusing jab

“The side-effects are mild … Listen to doctors who work in intensive care, because we are heartbroken every day and don’t want you to end up here.” Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden wants people to come off the fence and get the jab.
www.theguardian.com

Fitness enthusiast John Eyres, 42, who refused to get vaccinated, has died of COVID-19. His twin sister, Jenny McCann, is publicising her loss to “drive people to get a vaccine”. #getvaccinatednow

Die beste Instanz

“Wir führen diese Debatte über Rassismus auf einer total primitiven Ebene. Es handelt sich um ein Menschenrecht. Schutz vor Diskriminierung ist ein Menschenrecht.”
Natasha A. Kelly

“Ich würde mir wünschen, dass wir wegkommen davon diese Ereignisse, wie sie jetzt auch im WDR passiert sind, immer als Einzelfälle zu diskutieren. Und es ist ja heute immer wieder aufgekommen, daß es sich um strukturelle Probleme handelt, die nach ’45 nicht einfach aufgehört haben. Und ich glaube es gibt ‘ne Situation, in der man sich in Deutschland sehr, sehr stark wünscht, daß nach ’45 ein besseres Deutschland entstanden ist [sic]. Aber der Wunsch alleine erzeugt noch nicht die Realität. Und da brauchen strukturelle Probleme strukturelle Lösungen.”
Max Czollek

Gemeinsam mit ihren Gästen formuliert Enissa Amani eine bemerkenswerte Antwort auf die vom WDR am 09.11.2020 erstmalig ausgestrahlte Sendung “Die letzte Instanz“, deren Umgang mit dem Thema Rassismus bestenfalls als naiv zu bezeichnen ist.

They stormed the Capitol. Their apps tracked them.

“The location-tracking industry exists because those in power allow it to exist. Plenty of Americans remain oblivious to this collection through no fault of their own. But many others understand what’s happening and allow it anyway. They feel powerless to stop it or were simply seduced by the conveniences afforded in the trade-off. The dark truth is that, despite genuine concern from those paying attention, there’s little appetite to meaningfully dismantle this advertising infrastructure that undergirds unchecked corporate data collection.” Charlie Warzel and Stuart A. Thompson show the ease with which supposedly anonymised data from your smartphone is re-identified. From nothing to hide to nowhere to hide—we are all Americans now.
www.nytimes.com

How is he the victim?

“How is he the victim in this scenario? This is a pregnant woman who had to arrange new levels of protection because of the amount of racist abuse she was receiving, which escalated when she announced that she was pregnant. She’s always had racist abuse, but when she announced her pregnancy it multiplied because there is so much toxic racism in our society. … That’s not Danny Baker’s fault but what is Danny Baker’s fault is that he did something which was so offensive that when I first saw it I actually thought it was a prank. I just thought nobody, nobody who the BBC gives a platform [sic] could be stupid enough to say this and not intend it to be racist. Because it is one of [sic] and we could talk about unintended racism or micro-aggression, this is none of those. This is the most blatant, clear cut example of racism. It is a [sic] Generations of people have recognised this as an overtly racist trope. Within people’s lifetimes, black people still being compared to monkeys and dehumanised regularly. … So, I’m not interested in him. I’m not interested in him or what happens to him. By the way, he’s already done a show which was more successful than his previous shows since he’s been sacked. So, if you are worried about his career then I suspect there is no reason to. I am not interested in him, I’m worried about the millions of black people who regularly live with this kind of abuse and then have to be in spaces like this where everybody denies it’s a problem. That is something that I could not feel more strongly about and I’m living it right now in this conversation. It’s not good enough.”
Afua Hirsch

Danny Baker, a mulit-award winning broadcaster, has recently been fired from the BBC after seemingly comparing Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor to a monkey.

The secrets of surveillance capitalism

“The game is no longer about sending you a mail order catalogue or even about targeting online advertising. The game is selling access to the real-time flow of your daily life—your reality—in order to directly influence and modify your behavior for profit.” According to Shoshana Zuboff, we urgently need to revoke the collective agreement with the practices that result in the dispossession of behavior.
www.faz.net

Nine lessons

“Too much of our political debate just insults people’s intelligence and just suggests that every facet of Brexit you don’t like is purely a feature of only the Prime Minister’s version of it, rather than intrinsic to leaving.” Sir Ivan Rogers advocates the need for serious substance to replace plausible bullshit.
news.liverpool.ac.uk

Let’s be honest about what’s really driving Brexit: bigotry

“And those who promise that leaving the EU will deliver ‘control’ are really promising something quite specific: a social and cultural reboot. As well as being morally contemptible, of course, this is also a complete impossibility. But those who pose as our leaders have allowed this absurd and horrible vision of Britain’s future to take root. Let us be honest about what this is all about. And then let those who are responsible take full ownership of whatever consequences lie ahead.” Matthew d’Ancona does away with the pretence surrounding Brexit.
www.theguardian.com

Britain fell for a neoliberal con trick — even the IMF says so

“I want to address the most stubborn belief of all: that running a small state is the soundest financial arrangement for governments and voters alike. Because 40 years on from the Thatcher revolution, more and more evidence is coming in to the contrary.” Aditya Chakrabortty on asset-stripping the United Kingdom.
www.theguardian.com

Brexit — the story so far

by Swanpride

Honestly, this whole mess has been ridiculous way longer. I mean, so far the story kind of like this [sic]:

UK: Yeah, your stupid little project, we don’t want to be part of it.
EU: That’s okay, we will do our thing over here and you can do your thing over there.
UK: We have changed our mind, we want to join after all.
France: Not sure if that is a good idea.
UK: Pretty please?????
EU: Okay, we kind of convinced France.
UK: Great. Now do what we want or we leave.
EU: What do you want?
UK: We don’t want to be in the Euro.
EU: Done.
UK: But we want the right to do Euro clearing in London.
EU: Done.
UK: We want a rebate.
EU: Done.
UK: We don’t want to be part of Schengen.
EU: Done.
UK: We want to expand the EU to the eastern European countries.
EU: Done.
UK: And we want Turkey to join.
EU: Eh…not sure about that one…I guess we can talk about this, depending on how Turkey develops…
UK: And we want extra rules for immigration because of all of those Eastern Europeans coming to us.
EU: But you wanted this. And you don’t even use the options you already have to control immigration.
UK: Otherwise we leave!
EU: Okay, if you want to. There is nothing more we can give you! Plus, we are kind of busy over here with a refugee crisis. You know, you could help, too? You were the one messing around in the middle east for centuries after all.
UK: You cause too much immigration! And you want Turkey to join! We have voted to leave.
EU: Yes, we noticed. Well, you know the rules, no trade negotiations until you trigger article 50 and then we first need to talk about how we entangle the UK from the EU [sic]. Than we can talk about trade.
UK: We need some time to discuss this.
EU: We aren’t in any hurry.
UK: We have now triggered article 50.
EU: Great so now we can talk about the divorce.
UK: But we want to talk about trade.
EU: First we need to clear up a number of important issues. So what is your suggestion?
UK: —
EU: How about this?
UK: No, totally inacceptable. What we want is our cake and eat it too.
EU: That is impossible.
UK: Go whistle.
EU: Ticktock.
UK: We have talked among ourselves. We want a transitional period or we won’t get done in time.
EU: Well, we might if you don’t delay all the time…but okay, provided that we made some progress. So what is you suggestion.
UK: We want all the advantage of the single market and the customs union while following our own standards and no free movement.
EU: That is impossible.
UK: YOU ARE BLACKMAILING US!!!!!
tvtropes.org

This work is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 license.

Die AAA-Bürger

“So wie Alibaba und Amazon wissen, wofür sich ihre Nutzer interessieren und was sie als Nächstes kaufen könnten, will der chinesische Staat aus den Datenspuren seiner Bürger ableiten, wie sie sich in der Vergangenheit verhalten haben und in der Zukunft verhalten könnten und sie nach einem Punktesystem entsprechend bewerten. Wer zum Beispiel über das Internet gesunde Babynahrung bestellt, soll Pluspunkte erhalten. Wer sich hingegen Pornos ansieht oder zu viel Zeit mit Computerspielen verbringt, muss mit Abzügen rechnen.” Da trifft es sich gut, daß Felix Lee nichts zu verbergen hat und ein solcher Umgang mit Nutzerdaten überhaupt nur in China in Erwägung gezogen wird…
www.zeit.de

With thanks to Michael August